Posts Tagged ‘tax expenditures’

If Congress Lets Firms Expense Investments, It Should Take Away Their Interest Deduction

Egged on by business lobbyists, congressional tax writers seem increasingly interested in allowing firms to rapidly write off the cost of their capital investments. Especially in the House, lawmakers would allow small businesses to expense the full cost of their investments in the year they are acquired, and let larger firms heavily front-load tax depreciation […]

Why Most Tax Extenders Should Not Be Permanent

What to do about the tax extenders—or, as my colleague Donald Marron calls them, the “tax expirers”? Restoring the current crop (most of which expired on December 31) for 10 years would add about $900 billion to the deficit. House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden […]

Should Tax Reform Be Sold on Values Instead of Economics?

Maybe the best way for tax reformers to get political traction is to focus on values, not economics. That, at least, was one take-away from three political scientists who spoke at a Tax Policy Center panel today. Until now, backers of reform have focused primarily on economic arguments: A reformed tax code would increase growth […]

Incoming Senate Finance Chair Wyden Outlines His Tax Agenda

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), about to become the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday that he aims to eventually rewrite what he described as a “dysfunctional, rotting mess of a carcass that we call the tax code.” But in an acknowledgement of the challenges of tax reform, Wyden said he wants to […]

Taxes: A Big Gun In The War on Poverty

When Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty 50 years ago this month, he could not have imagined how many battles would be fought through the Tax Code. In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, the safety net was built almost entirely on spending programs.  Back then, policymakers created Medicare, Medicaid, student loan programs, and Head […]

A New Look at Who Benefits from Tax Expenditures

Who benefits from the tax credits, deductions and exclusions that have become such an integral part of the modern tax code? Nearly all of us. And that’s why any tax reform that eliminates or scales back many of these preferences in return for lower tax rates is so hard to do. The Tax Policy Center […]

Whither the Tax Extenders?

In three weeks, more than 60 expiring tax provisions will…expire. At least for a while. It isn’t unusual for these mostly-business tax breaks to temporarily disappear, only to come back from the dead a few months after their technical expiration. But this time businesses are more nervous than usual. Their problem: Congress may have few […]

Analyzing Taxes and Transfers Together

Government redistributes income through tax and spending programs. Nearly everyone pays some tax – be it federal or state income taxes, payroll taxes, or sales taxes. The tax system also affects people by delivering a host of benefits through tax expenditures (subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction or the child tax credit).   And broad spending […]

The Democrats Never-Ending Search for Tax Loophole Closers

Senate Democrats are circulating a list of a dozen tax “loopholes” they’d like to close as part of a budget package. It is unlikely that Republicans will agree to any of them except as part of broad tax reform, but it is worth taking a quick look at a few on their merits. Some represent […]

Can Expiring Tax Provisions Save the Budget Talks?

There is lots of buzz around Washington about whether a laundry list of expiring tax provisions could be the key to a modest budget agreement. Sadly, it is hard to see how.   The theory goes like this: Democrats might agree to some cuts in programs such as Medicare if Republicans swallow some new revenues. […]